Insulin resistance can be reversed with diet and exercise, but how long does it usually take?

So how long should it take to reverse your insulin resistance? I asked Dr. David Edelson, MD, board certified in internal and bariatric medicine, one of the top obesity experts in the U.S., and founder and medical director HealthBridge and thin-site.com.

Insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes, which of course can morph into type 2 diabetes.

Thus, it’s extremely important to reverse insulin resistance, even though the time it takes will not occur overnight.

How long it took to acquire insulin resistance didn’t happen overnight, either.

Dr. Edelson explains, “I’ve seen our patients with early stage insulin resistance able to reverse it and normalize their fasting insulin levels in 6-12 weeks.”

The three key areas to work on, when it comes to reversing insulin resistance, are:

Weight Loss

Exercise

Changes in Diet

Dr. Edelson continues, “If you let the ‘fuse burn’ too far, it becomes harder and harder to reverse insulin resistance.”

Insulin resistance can be thought of as being on a continuum. On one end, the left side, is normal glucose metabolism.

All the way at the other end, on the right side of the continuum, is type 2 diabetes. These two points are connected by a fuse.

It ignites at the left end at early insulin resistance, but if left untreated, that lit fuse burns its way along the continuum, towards the prediabetic point, and as it progresses further down the continuum, it becomes more difficult to reverse.

Dr. Edelson says, “There also is a point where it can no longer be reversed, when the pancreas has essentially ‘burned out’ and can no longer produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.

“This is why it is so important to intervene as early as possible in the course of this condition.”

Weight Loss

Make sure this is loss of fat, not muscle. A starvation or severe calorie restriction diet won’t work.

Shutterstock/Phonlamai Photo

Practice portion control and don’t skip meals; long periods in between meals may slow metabolism and sabotage fat loss efforts.

Exercise

Ancient man exercised hard nearly every day. The idea that’s been perpetrated out there, that you shouldn’t exercise every day, is full of nonsense.

Shutterstock/YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV

But don’t confuse this with the rule that you should not lift weights with the same muscles two days in a row.

Do an hour of exercise daily, alternating cardio days with weight days. Or replace a cardio day with yoga.

Your highest carbohydrate meal of the day should be consumed within an hour of exercise, if possible.

Diet

Avoid as much as possible foods with ingredients lists that name anything “hydrogenated” as well as sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Eat whole fruits instead of juice as much as possible. Restrict saturated fats.

Take omega-3 fish oil supplements, vitamin D3 supplements, and a B3 supplement (niacin). Take the fish oil and D3 simultaneously for a synergistic effect.

Stick to these guidelines and your insulin resistance will almost always be reversed within a reasonable time period.

Dr. Edelson is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top weight loss experts, and was listed in NY Magazine’s “Best Doctors of 2014” issue.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.